A pioneer of the WNBA, Kym Hampton is a model, vocalist, motivational speaker, and an ambassador for the WNBA, NBA, the NY Liberty, and is the Vice President of Women’s Basketball for the Rising Coaches Diversity Equity and Inclusion Alliance. Kym’s career has spanned over three continents due to the fact that there was no professional basketball in America for women prior to 1997. She returned to the United States and was among the first players to take the court in the inaugural season of the WNBA.
When Kym sat down with Sheen Magazine for this exclusive piece, she talked about life and the importance of not associating your self-esteem, self-worth, and identity to the titles you currently hold or have held. One of Kym’s greatest missions in life has always been to inspire and encourage others to chase their biggest dreams, while constantly working to improve themselves in order to reach their greatest potential.
As a former WNBA player, how has basketball impacted your life?
Basketball has greatly impacted my life. I started playing basketball as a freshman in high school with no expectations. I earned a full athletic scholarship to Arizona State University and after over thirty years, I am still the All-time leading scorer and rebounder (male or female) in the school’s history, scoring 2,361 points and grabbing 1,415 rebounds.
When I graduated from college, there was no professional basketball in America for women. If we wanted to pursue a professional career, playing overseas was our only option. Prior to playing in the WNBA, I played abroad in Spain, Italy, France, and Japan for 12 and a half seasons.
The WNBA started in 1997 and I was the #4 pick in the first round of the WNBA Elite Draft. It was an amazing experience because we had the backing of the NBA and were instant rock stars! As pioneers of the league, we knew we would forever be a part of WNBA history.
How do you equate the game of basketball to the game of life?
The lessons I’ve learned from the game of basketball are incredibly relevant to life. Each day I apply lessons like time management, owning my mistakes, communicating, being a good teammate, knowing how to win or lose, understanding that we always have a choice, and that life happens—the good, bad, and sometimes the ugly. I’ve learned that the only person I can control is me and success, surviving, and thriving are all choices as well.
What are some of your greatest accomplishments?
Becoming a mother, graduating from college, all of my numerous sports accomplishments, and having the courage to step outside my comfort zone to pursue my dreams. Making my childhood dreams of singing and modeling professionally a reality. Continuing to reinvent Kym!
What advice would you share with someone who wants to mirror your success?
Work to develop your skillset and believe in yourself. Be Your Best You!
What sense of purpose do you draw from your culture and community?
To shine bright so others believe they can shine bright as well.
How had the pandemic impacted your career?
COVID shut things down in the industries I work in. I had to start thinking outside the box for things to start moving again.
What can we expect from you in 2021?
Recording, a book, and a few other projects I can’t share just yet. Stay tuned!
Where can we find you?
Featured Image courtesy of Kym Hampton